One of the most important parts of having an enriching and productive day is ensuring that one sleeps well and gets a good night’s rest.
In Islam, both the Quran and the Sunnah focus on the matter of sleep and advise us on the best practices surrounding sleep.
Over the past so many centuries, human beings have sought out good practices when it comes to sleep, yet Islam already laid out the prescriptions, etiquettes and good practices over 1400 years ago.
Sleep and Modern Society
In recent years, the world has seen a huge push to go beyond our capabilities and maximise productivity. Whilst this has meant success for many, it’s also leaving the vast majority of us extremely tired. In fact, it would be fair to say that we are more tired than ever! As ironic as it may sound, being too productive can be counterproductive. But that’s not the only thing that causes excessive tiredness.
It’s, therefore, safe to say that modern society needs to focus more on sleeping well. Productivity, fulfilment and being able to focus are all things that are highly affected by either the lack or sufficiency of sleep. With our minds working overtime well into the dark hours of the night, many of us are reaching out for meditation apps, relaxation techniques and even podcasts which put us to sleep.
But beyond all this, one will find that Islam offers a tremendous amount of ways to sleep well and wake up more productive. Let us explore a few.
End Your Day With Dhikr
One of the most effective ways to unwind and reach a state of relaxation is by reciting a set of evening adhkar. These can be found in the Quran and the Hadith and reciting these can help tell your brain that it’s time to relax and unwind. What’s more, reciting these adhkar will prevent you from talking to others or accessing your smartphone which will naturally help your brain to slow down.
Dust The Bed and Sleep on Your Right
One of the most forgotten – and perhaps neglected – Sunnahs of sleep is the act of dusting one’s bed before sleeping. The Prophet ﷺ reminded us about this when he said, “When one of you goes to bed, he should dust his bed with the inside of his lower garment. he should say, ‘In the Name of Allah.’ He does not know what might have come on it after he left it. If he wants to lie down, he should lie down on his right side and say, [Sahih Muslim]
سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ رَبِّي بِكَ وَضَعْتُ جَنْبِي وَبِكَ أَرْفَعُهُ إِنْ أَمْسَكْتَ نَفْسِي فَاغْفِرْلَهَا وَإِنْ أَرْسَلْتَهَا فَاحْفَظْهَا بِمَاتَحْفَظُ بِهِ عِبَادَكَ الصَّالِحِينَ
Simple Sleep Sunnahs
The Prophet ﷺ also taught us that it is recommended to sleep in the state of Wudhu. By washing your limbs and face before bed, you cleanse yourself off from the toxicities that you may have accrued throughout the day. What’s more, sleeping in the state of Wudhu guarantees that an angel will pray for one’s forgiveness whilst sleeping. (Tabarani)
The Prophet’s ﷺ Practice Before Sleeping
The Prophet ﷺ taught us one of the greatest lifestyle practices when it comes to sleep which is to not speak with anyone after Isha, except for with one’s spouse. The quietness is an essential part of unwinding for the evening, so when you’re talking, you’re causing there to be a barrier to achieving that quietness and solitude state. What’s more, by spending quiet moments engaged in the remembrance of Allah, you go to bed and fall asleep remembering Allah which allows you to have somewhat of a clear plan of how your day will go the next day.
So, Do You Really Get Rewards For Sleeping in Islam?
There are a couple of Hadith that mention the significance of sleep in Islam and how one can engage in acts of Ibadan through the simple act of sleeping.
In one Hadith, the Prophet ﷺ said, “Purify your bodies, Allah will purify you, for verily any person who sleeps in a condition of purity will indeed have an angel spending the night by his side and whenever he turns over at any moment during the night the angel says, ‘O Allah forgive your servant for verily he has spent the night in the state of purity.” [Tabarani]
In another Hadith, he ﷺ said, “Whoever performs his ‘Isha Salah in congregation, it is as though he has performed salah for half the night and whoever performs the ‘Isha and Fajr in congregation, it is as though he has performed salah for the entire night.” [Sahih Muslim]
It is evident from this that even the simple act of sleep – amidst many other undermined human habits – can be the cause of a Muslim gaining immense reward. Whilst we may belittle the very act of sleep because of our busy lives and over-productive timetables, it is essential to humble ourselves to realise not only the physical and mental benefits of sleep but also the spiritual benefits of resting and relaxing.
Juber Ahmed is our Digital Editor and travel enthusiast with a keen interest in Islamic history and heritage. He travels with his wife to various places around the world and writes about his experiences.
Juber's favourite Quote...
"The World Is a Book and Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only One Page" [Saint Augustine]